Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on 23 September that the accreditation for the Iranian ambassador to Kiev will be revoked and that embassy staff will be reduced over Tehran’s alleged delivery of military drones to Russia.
A total of eight Iranian-made drones have reportedly been shot down so far in the conflict.
“Today the Russian army used Iranian drones for its strikes … The world will know about every instance of collaboration with evil, and it will have corresponding consequences,” Zelensky said in a late night address to the nation.
“In response to such an unfriendly act, the Ukrainian side has decided to deprive the ambassador of Iran of his accreditation and also to significantly reduce the number of diplomatic staff of the Iranian embassy in Kiev,” the Ukrainian leader went on to add.
The message was delivered to the acting Iranian ambassador since the permanent envoy, Manouchehr Moradi, is not currently in Ukraine.
In response to Iran supplying weapons to Russia to use in its war against Ukraine, today we announced the revocation of accreditation of the Iranian Ambassador in Kyiv, and a significant drawdown of diplomatic personnel at the Iranian embassy.
— Oleg Nikolenko (@OlegNikolenko_) September 23, 2022
Tehran has denied claims by Kiev and Washington that it had supplied drones to Russia, as officials previously said the Islamic Republic would not be party to an escalation in the conflict.
“We have different kinds of cooperation with Russia, including in the defense sector. But we are not going to help either side in this conflict,” Amir-Abdollahian told Italian newspaper La Repubblica on 13 July.
Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly asked Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to mediate talks to end the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Meanwhile, reports this week claimed Kiev sought the help of Israel to share intelligence on “any support” Iran is giving to Russia.
Despite Tehran’s official denials, Iranian drones were spotted for the first time in Ukraine earlier this month.
Spotted Iran striker UAVs in Kupyansk region. Presumably used by Russian forces. pic.twitter.com/xBVtuifvVS
— Максим (@kms_d4k) September 13, 2022
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was identified as the Shahed-136 suicide drone that can operate within a radius of 2,000 km and accurately target ground-based infantry and military installations.
These pinpoint accurate suicide drones have been used extensively in Yemen by the Ansarallah movement against oil installations and airports in Saudi Arabia.